The first week of summer recess for the Legislature, and there is a noticeable change in the Capitol and within a four-block radius outside of the Capitol. The normal crowds, hustle and bustle, and overall energy that is felt while the Legislature is in session, is for the most part, gone. Summer recess is certainly a time for Legislators, staff, and lobbyists to take a little earned break. But, that rest is short-lived. While it has already been a busy session so far as illustrated in our prior blog posts, there are many remaining issues left to tackle that everyone in the Capitol community will be gearing up to deal with when they return. Here is a list of some of the big ones:
- Sexual harassment continues to be a main point of discussion, both within the Capitol regarding their own internal policies as well as in proposed legislation that seeks to expand protections and mandates regarding sexual harassment on employers outside the building.
- Wildfire liability is still an unsettled issue that involves various stakeholders, including insurance companies, utilities, rate payers, environmentalists, and trial attorneys. The main issue is who will pay for the costs associated with these fires, including the fires that occurred in 2017 and the fires California is battling now and in the future.
- Abatement of lead paint inside residential homes has been a legislative debate as well as an issue in a formerly pending initiative. While the initiative was pulled and will not appear on the ballot, it is still a policy concern the Legislature will seek to resolve when they return in August.
- Energy – aside from wildfire liability, energy procurement costs, renewable energy mandates, and potentially creating a regional energy grid with other Western states are all pending issues when the Legislature returns.
- Privacy – shortly before the Legislature left for summer recess, they passed the most sweeping consumer data privacy laws in the country under the threat of an even worse ballot initiative. Clean-up legislation on that law as well as net neutrality are big items left to resolve.
The Legislature returns on August 6th and immediately faces a deadline to move all bills with any state fiscal implication out of committee and onto the floor in each house by August 17th. Everyone will hit the ground running on the 6th and won’t stop until the Legislature adjourns on August 31st.